Charlie Hunter and Lucy Woodward
Friday December 13, 2019
Charlie Hunter and Lucy Woodward
An exhilarating blast of jazz, blues, soul, and funk!
– Live and Onstage @ World Records Friday December 13
Their new release showcases their dazzling interplay with radically reworked classics by Blind Willie Johnson, Nina Simone, Bessie Smith, Lucinda Williams, and more!
Soulful, spacious and deliciously in the pocket, Music!Music!Music! reverberates with the thrilling intensity of the duo’s live shows, and crackles with the electricity of two talented performers stretching out together from their respective comfort zones. “It was just fun, man,” says Hunter of the recording sessions. “I’ve done so many records in my lifetime, everything from jazz to working with hip-hop people, really avant-garde stuff — but this is the first record I’ve ever done that is really a partnership with a singer. I’m really happy with how it came out.”
“It was about four days before the tour,” Woodward remembers. “A mutual friend connected us, saying, ‘Why don’t you get Lucy to jump on it?’” Woodward, fresh off supporting her fourth solo album, 2016’s Til They Bang on the Door, was game; but she also knew that they only had a few days to build an entire set list. “Silvana’s a guitar player, and they were going to do all songs that she wrote, which were in Spanish, so it wasn’t like I was going to ‘fill in’ for her,” she explains.
Can’t Let Go
“Charlie said, ‘I come from blues, you come from blues — let’s just start with the blues.’ Once we decided to go that route, he started sending me links to Blind Willie Johnson and Bessie Smith tunes, things from the early Twenties. And he was like, ‘What songs have you always wanted to do?’ We went back and forth with about thirty ideas, and came up with a set, had like a two-hour rehearsal, and did our first show the same day.”
“Musically, culturally, we just hit it off,” raves Hunter. “Lucy’s a great singer, a good all-around human, and she was totally up for the adventure.”
Each night on the tour became an exhilarating high-wire walk for the two artists as they navigated the melodies, grooves and spaces of the songs they were covering, with arrangements that they’d often just cooked up on the way to the gig. “It was so organic,” Woodward recalls. “You’d have an idea in the car, and it would be like, ‘Hey, let’s try this song tonight! Let’s just find the key and go!’ That whole tour was just full of surprises. Everything was just so natural, and every place we played, Charlie’s audiences were so wonderful. They love to watch an experiment happen onstage; whether it’s wrong or right, they embrace it, and that’s really cool. And about four days into the tour, Charlie was like, ‘I think we need to record this stuff!’”
Please Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood
The One I Love is Gone
For Woodward, who in addition to her own solo career has sung on recordings by Celine Dion, Rod Stewart, Snarky Puppy, Barbra Streisand, Chaka Khan, Carole King, Nikka Costa and Joe Cocker, it was a new experience singing in the studio with such sparse-yet-funky instrumentation, not to mention recording in a situation where vibe and feel took precedent over tight arrangements. “I’d never done a record where I’ve toured with anything smaller than a quartet, quintet or big band,” she says. “Charlie taught me a lot about carving out and leaving space in the songs, rather than just singing your verse, and then another verse, and then a chorus. In his world, space is just as important as what happens when you play.
It was challenging for me in so many ways to sing on songs that have so much breathing room — realizing that I don’t have to fill up every hole with something — but it feels so right.
The fun will continue this spring, when Hunter and Woodward return to the road to take Music!Music!Music! to the people. The tour for the album will stretch over much of 2019, with the duo going to Europe and Japan as well as all over North America. Not bad at all for a project that originally came together in a flurry of texts and emails.
You’ve Been A Good Ole Wagon
“I’ve spent so much of my career playing instrumental music,” laughs Hunter, “and playing instrumental music is like looking for an apartment in New York City with three dogs — it’s like, you’re immediately disqualified from ninety percent of them right off the bat. And then you get a singer, and now all of a sudden, it’s like I’m good-looking, or something. It’s like, ‘Oh, we’ve been waiting for you!’ It’s really great, and I’m really looking forward to us playing these songs live again.”
Charlie Hunter and Lucy Woodward – Live and Onstage
@ World Records Friday December 13!
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WORLD RECORDS – 2815 ‘F’ Street Bakersfield, CA 93301 – 661-325-1982
Where Music Matters Most since 1982